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Frustrated Fire Can't Win, Seattle Settle For Draw

While being the only undefeated team in Major League Soccer has its privileges, the Chicago Fire (2-0-5) is facing a couple of other problems. They can’t hold on to leads, nor can they win games.

Saturday night, the Fire held a commanding 1-0 lead against Seattle Sounders FC (4-2-1), but only for six minutes. Chicago’s offense pushed hard, but had trouble getting past the Sounders' defense and goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

Fire midfielder Marco Pappa made history by scoring the first goal against Keller. Keller’s streak of starting the season without allowing a goal was stopped at 456 minutes.

Chicago's celebration, included Pappa flipping on the field. Yet before they knew it, were tied at 1-1. Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall snuck one past Fire keeper Jon Busch on a corner kick header for the equalizer in the 74th minute.

“In this league, one mistake is going to cost you,” Fire forward Patrick Nyarko said. “It’s up to us to get that part right. We are obviously frustrated. We had our hands on the game and let it slip by.

“We cannot keep tying. We feel we have an edge against opponents going into the games. It’s up to us to get the results that we need. We were in control of the game. One lapse of concentration cost us.”

Chicago received an advantage early in the second half, when Seattle’s leading scorer Fredy Montero left the game with a red card.

But it still took the Chicago club 20 more minutes to find the net. While the Fire finds a way to stay in games, it hasn’t won a game since April 4th – a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Chicago is slowly slipping in the East.

“I thought Chicago was the better team first half,” Keller said. “We rode our luck a little bit. We felt we could sort out our issues at half time. The red card changed the game. We went down a man, conceded the goal, scored and then shut it down.”

Seattle’s comeback was the first of the season for the club. The Sounders offensive chances were limited in the match to four shots. They had one shot on goal, and buried it. Seattle is sitting in second place in the West. The 1-1 draw marked the first for them. With Keller in goal, the club is 4-0-1.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said the game definitely had some positives for his club. Marshall’s goal was the first goal scored off a corner kick all season. On top of it, they earned a point on the road.  

“We were about to make a double substitution. We tied it up on a corner kick, the first time all year,” Schmid said. “We showed a lot of character. But the guys are disappointed in how they played. We were fortunate to get a point.”

Kathryn L. Knapp,